Effect of a single dose of lactase on symptoms and expired hydrogen after lactose challenge in lactose-intolerant subjects

Clin Pharm. 1992 Jun;11(6):533-8.


The effect of a single dose or oral lactase on symptoms, breath hydrogen concentration, and glucose absorption in lactose-intolerant subjects challenged with lactose was studied. Volunteers underwent a lactose challenge test; those whose breath hydrogen concentrations increased 20 ppm or more and who met other criteria were admitted as subjects. After fasting, the subjects were given three chewable lactase tablets (total lactase dose, 9900 FCC units) or placebo tablets in a randomized, double-blind, crossover manner. The subjects also consumed 8 oz of whole milk in which 37.5 g of lactose powder was dissolved (total lactose content, 50 g). The washout period between lactose challenges was at least one week. Breath hydrogen and plasma glucose concentrations were measured before and at intervals after the challenges, and the subjects completed symptom-evaluation questionnaires every eight hours for four days. Twenty-four subjects completed the study. The maximum mean breath hydrogen concentration was significantly lower after lactase treatment than after placebo treatment. In 21 subjects, the area under the hydrogen concentration-time curve (AUC) was lower after lactase than after placebo; three subjects had hydrogen AUCs more than 300 ppm.hr lower. There were no significant differences in plasma glucose levels. Subjective ratings of the severity of abdominal cramping, belching, flatulence, and diarrhea were lower during the first eight hours after challenge in lactase-treated subjects; ratings for bloating were lower during the next eight hours. Single doses of a chewable lactase tablet reduced the concentration of expired hydrogen and symptoms of lactose intolerance after a lactose challenge.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Breath Tests
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eructation / etiology
  • Female
  • Flatulence / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / analysis*
  • Lactase
  • Lactose Intolerance / complications
  • Lactose Intolerance / drug therapy*
  • Lactose Intolerance / metabolism
  • Lactose* / metabolism
  • Male
  • Muscle Cramp / etiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • beta-Galactosidase / administration & dosage
  • beta-Galactosidase / therapeutic use*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hydrogen
  • Lactase
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Lactose